ZIMBABWE will bid to host the 2014 Davis Cup Africa Zone Group III matches, as they aim to increase the country’s chances of being promoted to Davis Cup Europe/Africa Zone Group II.
REPORT BY ALBERT MARUFU
The quartet of playing captains Martin Dzuwa, Tinotenda Chanakira, Mark Fynn and Takanyi Garanganga finished third after losing 2-1 to hosts Egypt in the promotional play-offs last week.
The 13-team tournament, which was played on a round robin basis, ran from Tuesday to Saturday last week, at Cairo’s Smash Tennis Academy.
Morocco grabbed the other slot into Davis Cup Euro/Africa Zone Group Two after beating another southern African side Madagascar 2-1 in another promotional play-off.
Zimbabwe, who lost the bid to host this year’s edition to Egypt, had topped Pool B after beating lightweights Kenya and Ghana by identical three nil whitewashes.
The southern African nation, however found the going tough against the home side when Fynn lost 6-2, 6-2 to Sherif Sabry in the opening singles match, but Garanganga won the reverse singles game 4-6, 7-6, 4-6 against Mohamed Safwat to level the tie.
The Egyptian pair of Safwat and Sabry then proved too powerful for Garanganga and Fynn, whom they beat 6-3, 7-5 in the doubles to dent Zimbabwe’s chances of causing an upset.
Besides home advantage, Egyptian players had a better singles ranking with Safwat sitting at 324 and Sabry 432, compared to the Zimbabwean duo of Garanganga and Fynn who had a respective singles ranking of 450 and 1088.
Tennis Zimbabwe (TZ) vice-president Regis Bhunu said the association’s executive would meet this week to do a postmortem of the team’s performance.
“One of the reasons for our continued failure to gain promotion to Group II is that the tournament is played at a time when most of our players will be tied to their respective colleges. In the future we will see how we can negotiate with these colleges to release our players in time,” he said.
Bhunu added that they would also bid to host next year’s competition because playing at home would incentivise the players.
“We have tried and failed to host the tournament in the past, but we feel that our chances of hosting next year’s tournament are bright. The tournament has been played in North Africa twice, with Tunisia and Egypt having hosted the last two editions. We feel that we cannot fail to host this tournament,” he said.
Bhunu stressed that there is a need to engage the players to find out the challenges they faced in Egypt.
“We have to engage the players. That is the only way we can develop,” he said.
Academic commitments saw Mbonisi Ndimande pulling out of the tournament, resulting in Dzuwa who had been previously named as the non-playing captain, became a playing captain. For the second year running Zimbabwe finished third in the tournament.